The Opposite of Greed
Good Afternoon Dear Saints,
This afternoon as I was preparing for our Wed. Night Bible Study (6 PM!), I was struck by Prov 28:25.
"A greedy man stirs up strife. But the one who trusts in the LORD will be enriched."
Now, the first line makes a lot of sense to me. The person who is greedy, will necessarily seek after greed, and they will do anything they can to get it. We would call that a violation of the 10th commandment, "Do not covet." The essence of coveting, or greediness, is wanting something so bad that you are willing to sin to get it. This necessarily leads to strife, dissension, and division (cf. James 3:13-18), as people are willing to do whatever is necessary to get what they want.
And to be honest, the second half of the Proverb makes sense to me too. The person who trusts in, or has faith in the LORD, will be enriched. Now we understand that doesn't necessarily mean having a giant bank account or a huge house or a Ford F750 series truck. What it means is that they can say with Paul, "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." (Phil 1:21)
Now what I gave me pause is why these two parts of Proverbs 28:25 are put together. What is the relationship between greedy persons stirring up strife and one with faith being enriched? I think we are supposed to see them as opposites. And here I think we learn something about the nature of greed. Just as when we have faith, we are trusting in that thing to carry through on its promises, so greed trusts that the object of our greed (whether it is approval, status, or stuff) will give us what we think it will. In other words, greed is a mutated form of faith. Unfortunately, greed never works. The object of our greed is never trustworthy. It never follows through. When we are willing to sin to get something, whether it is a new car, a feeling, or even approval from others, the payoff is never worth it; it always leaves us feeling somewhat empty inside.
By contrast, greed also tells us something about faith. Because if greed means desiring something, that means that our faith must include desire. In other words, our faith must include a sense of our need and want for Christ. We must actually want him. Faith is not merely knowing information and agreeing to it. Faith is hungering and thirsting for Christ. It is abiding in him like a branch does a vine. Faith is clinging to Christ for salvation. Faith is, exactly what Paul says, "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." (Phil 1:21) In other words, faith is not just wanting Christ because of what he can give us (and what he gives us is pretty good: righteousness, forgiveness, reconciliation, hope, etc.). Faith is wanting Christ because He is His own reward. If you have Christ, what else do you need?
Southern Heights Christian Church
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Anderson, IN 46013
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